minimum wage | KUOW News and Information

minimum wage

Voters in SeaTac, Washington, narrowly approved a $15 per hour minimum wage. Now, the state Supreme Court will decide whether that law should stand, and if so, whether it should apply to workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Currently it does not.

Nick-Hanauer.com

Bill Radke talks to Seattle multi-millionaire investor Nick Hanauer (that's right, he's not a billionaire, just has "hundreds of millions") about a warning to his fellow "plutocrats" and why he thinks economic policies aimed at saving the middle class will save rich people everywhere.

Sorry
Flickr Photo/Stefan Bucher (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Sorry about your loss.

This week City Light’s leader lost $60,000, Facebook lost credibility and the U.S. men's team lost at the World Cup, as always. But KUOW's Bill Radke welcomes a winning panel: Knute Berger, Joni Balter, C.R. Douglas, Luke Burbank and special guest, Monica Guzman.

(Bonus: Name that new Seattle water taxi!)

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

UPDATE 7/2/2014, 4:51 p.m. PT: 

Forward Seattle, a group opposing Seattle’s new $15 minimum wage law, today submitted its petitions to put the law up for a popular vote.  

The Seattle City Clerk’s office says the group turned in more than 19,000 signatures. 16,510 signatures are required to put the law on the ballot. 

The federal minimum wage for tipped workers has been $2.13 since 1991. That pay rate tends to get lost in the larger debate over whether to raise the national minimum wage for nontipped workers, which is $7.25 an hour.

In theory, the money from tips should make up the difference in pay — and then some. But according to a White House report, tipped workers are more than twice as likely as other workers to experience poverty.

Living On Tips

Should SeaTac’s voter-approved $15 per hour minimum wage apply to workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport? Washington’s Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on that question Thursday.

Flickr Photo/John Boren (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Lisa Brooks talks with Port of Seattle co-president Courtney Gregoire about a proposal to raise the minimum wage for SeaTac airport employees to $13 by 2017.

Marcie Sillman talks with Heather Weiner, spokeswoman for the group YES! for SeaTac, about the Port of Seattle Commission's proposal to raise wages for some airport workers, but not others.

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Seattle’s new $15 an hour minimum wage is scheduled to start phasing in next April. But it first must survive several challenges, both in court and at the ballot box.

Franchisees are challenging the law in court, and two separate groups are collecting signatures to put the law to a popular vote on this November’s ballot.

David Hyde interviews Carl Adrian, president of the Tri-City Development Council. He has a message to Seattle entrepreneurs that want to relocate due to the hike in the minimum wage here: "We're open for business."

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Last week, Seattle became the first city in the nation to establish a $15 minimum wage for all workers. The framework was established by a panel of business, labor and community leaders, which the City Council passed in record time.

Courtesy Jillian Smith

A shooting on the campus of Seattle Pacific University on Thursday left one person dead and two others seriously injured. Seattle made history this week as the first city in the country to establish a $15 minimum wage for all workers. And the controversy surrounding Amazon's business practices continued to attract national media attention.

Steve Scher recaps those stories and more news of the week with Crosscut's Knute Berger, The Stranger's Eli Sanders, news analyst Joni Balter and Live Wire's Luke Burbank.

Week In Review Extra

President Obama this week announced new rules that would lead to a reduction in carbon emissions from U.S. power plants. He proposed new Environmental Protection Agency rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2030. Is America up to the challenge?

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

David Hyde gets the scoop from KUOW's Deborah Wang about what happened at the city council meeting Monday night when a historical $15 minimum wage was unanimously passed.

Then, Marcie Sillman speaks with Steve Caldiera, president and CEO of the International Franchise Association, about his plans to sue Seattle to overturn the minimum wage ordinance.

Last, David Hyde talks with the advocacy group 15 Now about whether they will move forward with their own ballot measure to raise the city's minimum wage faster.

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant meets with reporters after the vote to phase-in a $15 minimum wage June 3, 2014.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

In a unanimous vote, to a standing ovation, the Seattle City Council approved a bill to increase the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The crowd cheered “We made 15 possible!” after the reading of the vote tally in a meeting marked with passionate pleas for its passage from the public as well as council members.

Failed Amendments

The packed crowd of vocal proponents for the passage of the bill, many of whom gave their personal stories during the section of public comment, booed the failure of four amendments to the City Council’s plan.

From DESC's Facebook page.

David Hyde talks with Bill Hobson, executive director of Downtown Emergency Service Center, about how his organization would implement the $15 minimum wage and why he's advocating that the city help.

KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

Over a hundred members of the Seattle Police Department have filed a lawsuit against the federally-mandated reforms SPD has adopted. The Seattle City Council has come to an agreement on the minimum wage proposal.

Steve Scher recaps those stories and more news of the week with Crosscut's Knute Berger, The Stranger's Eli Sanders, news analyst Joni Balter and LiveWire host Luke Burbank.

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Steve Scher talks with David Meinert, Seattle nightlife entrepreneur and restaurantuer about his experience on the mayor's income inequality advisory committee. Marcie Sillman gets more on the story with Q13 Political Analyst C.R. Douglas.

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

It was standing room only at Seattle’s city hall on Thursday, as councilmembers made changes to a minimum wage proposal. This signals that Seattle is poised to be the first city to pass a $15 minimum wage, the highest in the country.

Elizabeth Warren's book "A Fighting Chance."

Steve Scher talks to Senator Elizabeth Warren about her new book "A Fighting Chance," the rise of the minimum wage and the banking industry.

Amy Radil

The Seattle City Council took up Mayor Ed Murray’s minimum wage proposal Thursday. Labor leaders said they weren’t thrilled about the council's opening questions.

Seattle City Council
Courtesy of Seattle City Council

Ross Reynolds talks to PubliCola reporter Erica C. Barnett about the Seattle City Council's review of Mayor Ed Murray's minimum wage proposal. The original plan was a hard-fought compromise between business and labor representatives.

McDonald's Protesters Arrested

May 22, 2014

McDonald’s is holding its annual shareholder meeting today in Oak Brook, Illinois, outside Chicago. But it’s the action that’s been happening outside that’s been getting all the attention.

More than 100 protesters were arrested yesterday after refusing to leave McDonald’s property. They were demonstrating for higher wages for McDonald’s employees.

Demonstrators were asking McDonald’s to raise their pay to $15 an hour. The company’s CEO Don Thompson responded today – saying, “We are people. We do have values at McDonald’s.”

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

As the Seattle City Council continues to debate a plan to phase in a $15 minimum wage, and as minimum wage advocates gather signatures to put an even stronger measure on the November ballot, businesses in the city are finding themselves in an uncomfortable position: in limbo.

Can The Promise Of Opportunity Reduce Crime?

May 19, 2014
Robert Crutchfield's book "Get a Job."

Steve Scher talks to UW Sociology professor Robert Crutchfield about the research in his new book ,"Get A Job: Labor Markets, Economic Opportunity, And Crime."

One argument for raising the minimum wage is that better pay will tie a person to the work in a positive way. More pay could give a worker hope that they will be able to  build a better life for themselves and their family. Research shows that  kids will pick up on that hope and be less likely to commit crimes. 

Crutchfield  has worked as a parole agent and a juvenile probation officer. His research focuses on the connections between labor markets, economic opportunity and crime. Basically, he says, a good job reduces crime. 

KUOW/John Ryan

Minimum-wage activists launched their signature-gathering campaign for a ballot initiative outside the downtown Seattle McDonald's Thursday.

Flickr Photo/University of Michigan's Ford School (CC-BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde interviews Jared Bernstein, former chief economist for the Obama Administration, about the proposed minimum wage hike in Seattle. 

Ralph Nader's new book "Unstoppable."

David Hyde speaks with Ralph Nader about Seattle's minimum wage debate and his new book: “Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle The Corporate State.”

Special: Stakeholders, Listeners Discuss Minimum Wage

May 14, 2014
Demonstrators in Seattle form a human chain around City Hall in support of a $15 minimum wage in April 2014.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Steve Scher sits down with three stakeholders in the minimum wage debate: James Parker, a volunteer for the organization 15Now, who currently makes $12 an hour; Howard Wright, co-founder of the Seattle Hospitality Group and co-chair of the mayor's Income Inequality Advisory Committee; and Judith Gille, founder and  co-owner of City People's Mercantile and Garden Store.

Scher asks his panelists to discuss how we got to this point, the mayor's proposal to reach a $15 minimum wage and how that wage would impact their lives. We also take your calls.

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

David Hyde speaks with KUOW reporter Deborah Wang, who attended Seattle City Council's public hearing on the minimum wage Tuesday night.

In the “me too” department, King County is jumping on the bandwagon to consider a higher minimum wage for its employees. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray issued a similar proposal for city workers soon after he took office in January.

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